Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one of his former ministers and other lesser-known political figures on Wednesday added to the list of people who applied for the Iranian presidential election in June.
Acclaimed by dozens of his supporters, the populist and ultraconservative ex-president went in the morning to the Interior Ministry, where those who want to compete in the election can submit their candidacy from Tuesday and until Saturday included.
Before they can stand for the Iranian vote, all candidates will have to be validated by the Council of Guardians of the Constitution, an unelected body controlled by the conservatives. The Iranian press as a whole believes that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chances of obtaining the anointing of the Guardians are almost nil.
The former president, who presents himself as the “child” of the people, warned that he would outright boycott the ballot – the first round of which must take place on June 18 – “in case of disqualification” of his candidacy. “Millions of people across the country have invited me to stand for election and even ordered me to come here to register, placing a heavy responsibility on my shoulders,” he said.
” Last chance “
Repeating, as he has done for several years, that the population has, according to him, lost confidence in the leaders of the country, he considered that the June election was “perhaps the last chance” to save the Islamic Republic in the face of challenges ” very sensitive ”which it faces for both“ internal ”and“ international ”reasons.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was president from 2005 to 2013. In 2009, the challenge – severely suppressed – of his re-election on the basis of accusations of irregularities and massive fraud, had shaken the Islamic Republic.
In 2013, he had to give up his post at the end of his second term (like the outgoing president, Hassan Rouhani this year), the Constitution prohibiting the chief executive from serving three successive terms.
The former president had tried his luck again during the 2017 presidential election by submitting his candidacy against the advice of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Unsurprisingly, it was rejected by the Council of Guardians, responsible for monitoring the presidential election.
Over the years, the former president has become a hair-to-itch of the Islamic Republic, making iconoclastic remarks publicly questioning most of the main directions adopted by its leaders.
In the West, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s name is indelibly associated with the deadly crackdown on the wave of protests against his re-election in 2009 and his thunderous statements calling for the destruction of Israel and denying the Holocaust.
“Peace, love and brotherhood”
He who was characterized by his aggressive rhetoric and his ultraconservative and populist positions nevertheless undertook, after leaving the presidency, to radically change his image, even if it meant going back on some of his most shattering statements or giving interviews to Persian-speaking media based abroad and considered “hostile” by the authorities.
He thus advocates “peace, love, brotherhood and cooperation” between peoples, but also “freedom”, “human rights” and “democracy”, in particular via his certified Twitter account, a social network that he contributed to blockade in Iran in 2009, and on which he communicates only in English.
In February 2018, after a wave of protest that affected several dozen cities at the turn of the year, he asked in an open letter to the Guide “the immediate holding of free presidential and legislative elections – of course without staging” .
Another personality who applied on Wednesday, Admiral Rostam Ghassémi, Minister of Petroleum under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and now deputy commander of an elite unit of the Revolutionary Guards (the Iranian ideological army), s ‘is presented as “a simple soldier of the fatherland, servant of the people with a long experience in the field of development”.
He is the fourth general officer to apply for since Tuesday.
About twenty other candidates, former ministers, current deputies or former parliamentarians, also registered on Wednesday, according to AFP journalists present at the ministry.
According to the official calendar, the final list of candidates selected by the Council of Guardians must be known on May 26 or 27, and the electoral campaign must begin on May 28.
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